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Christian Siriano Doesn’t Get Why More Designers Don’t Make Plus-Size Clothing: “Do We Not Want to Triple the Business?”

Christian Siriano plus-size fashion

The fashion industry is notoriously elitist when it comes to which body types are expected to be embraced by designers. The average American woman is a size 16 to 18, but many clothing retailers stop short of those sizes. When it comes to high-end designers, even someone who wears a size 6 would likely have trouble finding couture. Christian Siriano, though, is a welcome respite from fashion industry snobbery.

In a recent interview with Elle, Siriano says that including plus sizes in his line has tripled his business. He can’t see, then, why more designers don’t increase their inclusion. “Why wouldn’t you do that?! Do we not want to triple the business? Do we not think these women should wear our clothes?”

He goes on to call out the prejudices in size discrimination. “Do we not want these women to have beautiful things because we’re afraid they’re not beautiful? What is going on here? Of course it’s a process to make things in bigger sizes. The patterns are different. There’s more fabric involved. But we will never charge more for a larger size, because that’s not the right thing to do. The whole point of being a designer is to make people feel good, we’re here to make people look cute in a dress. You want to look cute in a dress and you’re a size 26? Why not?!”

Siriano has dressed a number of high-profile actresses with non-conventional celebrity body types, including Leslie Jones,

Whoopi Goldberg,

and Oprah.

In an industry plagued with not just sizism but racism as well, it’s wonderful to see someone like Siriano who really does design for all bodies.

“You have to put it in people’s faces,” he says. “We’re visual. It has to be on the runway to get through to people. We’re all stubborn, even me. So when it’s on the runway, it’s there… Now, our business is 50 percent plus size. The reason it’s going so much is because the retailers will go with us. We got Moda Operandi to change their whole website—now they go up to our sizes! Knowing we have a part in change like that, it’s amazing… but it’s still crazy to me that it’s not the norm.”

(via Elle, image: Andrew Toth/Getty Images for YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.